Eyebrows were raised at Golfmagic Towers when an invitation to sample some courses in Poland pinged up in our inbox. After all, you can count the number of Polish courses on one hand and you need to scroll through the EuroPro Tour directory just to find the top-ranked Poles in Maksymilian Saluda and Jacob Ossowski. Hardly household names.
We sent staff writer Andy Roberts for a weekend in Gdansk, a quaint port city brimming with amber on the Baltic Sea, to set the record straight...
It’s clear there’s a beaming green light for playing golf in Poland.
Simply lost for words as we drove through the gates at Sierra Golf Club - approximately half an hour from our base in Gdansk - for our opening 18 holes, down a 500-yard road not too dissimilar to Augusta National’s Magnolia Lane, we were greeted by a grand clubhouse, red carpet and glass of champagne.
After slipping on my new pair of Kikkor Tenny golf shoes I jumped into the buggy, instantly fascinated by its in-built widescreen GPS system – featuring yardages, carries, and live sports scores running on a ticker. You could even pre-order your food to be waiting at the clubhouse to make sure that post-round hunger is short-lived.
To get ahead of the 18-man Saturday Medal we started on the 430-yard dogleg par-4 seventh, the hardest hole on the course. At least that was my excuse for finding the rough off the tee before skinning my 7-iron and two-putting for bogey. Either that or the Bollinger.
I gave myself a quick talking to, using the back of my putter as a makeshift mirror, and carried out a few Rhys Davies-style stretches. Two solid pars followed, before I really kick-started my round at the 480-yard par-5 tenth.
With no marshals on hand to control the stampede of cattle, who selfishly rang their bells behind the green, I fired my wedge from 70-yards disappointingly short of the pin, some 40-foot away. I made sure I gave a quick Colin Montgomerie-like stare into the field. To my surprise, I rolled home the birdie putt, gave a little ‘Brucie’ fist-pump and raised my cap to the cows. Good game, good game.
A beautiful stretch of holes then ensued back to the 18th, most notably 13 through 16 (pictured above) with water and strategically placed fairway bunkers on hand to gobble up errant tee shots.
My favourite holes on the course were the par-4 15th and par-3 16th. After threading a 3-wood between a 20-yard gap down the 15th fairway, perilously close to the water, I left myself with a daunting 8-iron across the drink. I was extremely pleased to walk off the green with a two-putt par.
Just when we thought we’d avoided the lake on 15, we were called upon to hit our ball straight back across it to the 16th green. Playing little more than 200 yards, across a stunning backdrop of autumnal trees and flowers, there was little room for error. Having opted for safety at the right side of the green, my ball fell off the slope and into the bunker, which led to my third bogey of the day. Fantastic hole, nonetheless.
After lipping out for birdie on the zig-zag 506-yard par-5 17th, we walked onto the par-4 18th, to be greeted by a beautiful view back to the luxurious clubhouse.